Preventing Sexual Abuse
Since the proclamation of the Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991 (RHPA), and the Midwifery Act, 1991 in 1994, the College of Midwives of Ontario has had in place a Sexual Abuse Prevention Policy for midwives. The College has a zero-tolerance approach to sexual abuse of any kind.
In 2017, the Ontario Legislature approved Bill 87, The Protecting Patients Act, 2017. Bill 87 includes a number of changes to the RHPA, some of which impact the Sexual Abuse Prevention Policy. This Bill has come into force in two stages, and the College has responded to all requirements in the Bill. You can read about changes that came into effect in May 2017 here.
On May 1st, 2018, other provisions in Bill 87 came into effect. One of the major changes is that funding for therapy and counselling is now available from the College for clients who make a complaint to the College about sexual abuse or are the subject of a registrar’s investigation involving allegations of sexual abuse, at the time the allegation of sexual abuse is made. We have created a Guide on Funding and Therapy, which sets out information on the process for obtaining funding for therapy and counselling for individuals who were, or may have been, sexually abused by a midwife while they were a client. Please click here for additional resources if you are applying for funding and therapy.
We have also created a Sexual Abuse Complaints Guide for members of the public, which is intended to assist clients in understanding why it is important to report sexual abuse and what can be expected when a report is made. The midwife-client relationship is based on trust. Sexual abuse by a midwife violates that trust and is never acceptable. The College has zero tolerance for sexual abuse and has the responsibility to investigate all complaints. If you are a midwifery client and your midwife has touched you inappropriately, said something to make you feel uncomfortable, or engaged in any form of sexual relations with you, please contact the College at 416.640.2252 x. 224.
Members of the public and midwives can learn more about the College’s Complaints process by clicking here.